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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Microsoft Game Studios

 

Developer

Realtime Worlds

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

February 20, 2007

 

 

- Awesome feeling of comic book-type power equals "big time fun"

- Huge world to mess around in

- The driving almost feels like a separate game

- Two-player co-op

 

 

- Narrator won't shut-up

- Action is quite directionless when compared to other "sandbox" games

 

 

Review: The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (XB)

Review: City of Heroes (PC)

Review: Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PS2)

Review: Ultimate Spider-Man (XB)

 

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Crackdown

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

I’m standing on the edge of a building.  Probably 900 feet above the pavement, I can see people scurrying about – they look like ants – and cars speeding on errands that only their drivers know.  My target is a Shia Gen general and he’s in the building directly to the north.  I back away from the edge, get a running start then jump, my arms pin wheeling as I cross the 100 feet of empty space 900 feet above the street.  But I’ve misjudged it.  Instead of landing squarely on the next roof I hit the side of building and start to fall.  But then a miracle – I’ve caught a window ledge. The sound of my shoulders being popped out of their sockets echoes, but I hang on.  I heave myself 30 feet straight up and manage to cling to another small outcropping.  I look up.  I might be able to make it!  With a final leap I land on the roof.

 

It’s moments like these that are peppered and repeated throughout Crackdown.

 

crackdown          crackdown

 

As a modified member of the “Agency”, the player is endowed with skills (i.e. super powers) that are continually upgraded to the point where the agent is a 

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very nimble tank – picking up cars like playthings, firing multiple rockets at rooftop enemies, dropping grenades on enemy hit squads, pulling off driving stunts that would make Evil Kneival wet himself, and, of course, scale buildings as if they were part of an industrial jungle gym.

 

The agent needs to use all his skills, as well as his formidable arsenal,

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to clean-up the streets of Pacific City.  Three gang factions have carved up the city into their own fiefdoms and it’s the agent’s job to eliminate the gang generals and any minions that get in his way.

 

Pacific City is a massive place, but it’s made all the more impressive because there are no loading screens once you start playing.  Of course, the world is continually streamed into existence, but there are no instances of “pop in” and “fog” is reserved for things very far away – I’m talking miles away.  In one instance I stood on a cliff overlooking and expanse of water.  I took aim at a building across the water with a rocket launcher and fired.  It took a while for the rocket to reach its destination, but in the distance, quite clearly, there was an explosion when it finally hit.

 

crackdown          crackdown

 

As big as Pacific City is and as many roving gangs of thugs roam the streets, there’s not actually that much to do in the game.  In other sandbox type games, like Grand Theft Auto or even The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, there is always something to do, some other challenge or story arch to play through.  Not so with Crackdown.  The voice of your commander, who acts as a narrator of sorts, directs your attention to specific targets and that’s it.  No real surprises or distractions to pull your attention to other parts of Pacific City to maintain law and order.  However, Crackdown’s list of Achievements and various collectibles, including Stunt Markers, make up for a lack of any compelling story.  Nailing of the Stunt Markers take so much planning and timing that they’d be nigh impossible to do prior to the complete clean-up of the criminal riff-raff.  Then there are the collectibles in the form of Agility and Secret Orbs, 500 of the former, 300 of the latter.  Long a staple of platformers, these collectibles don’t feel like they were shoehorned in.

 

Much of the fun in Crackdown is your ability to muck around in a world alive with (destructive) possibilities – sometimes it’s just satisfying to run around and blow stuff up.

 

crackdown          crackdown

 

Developer Realtime Worlds has included two-player co-op over Xbox Live.  Though my experience has been relatively “laggy” the times when there are two of us running around… well, it took me back to the MMORPG City of Heroes for the simple fact that it feels like a comic book duo. (And the city design might also have something to do with it.)

 

Crackdown stands on its own for being a great game.  There are some minor points of frustration – having a friend join co-op will boot you out of the current game just the same way it does when your buddy drops out – but the overall fun you’ll have bounding across rooftops, flipping super-powered vehicles off bridges, whacking gang members with building debris, and so on, outweigh them.

 

Hop to it Agent, you’ve got a city to save!

 

- Omni

 

 

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